Humor - Essay Review  

Bless Your Heart, Tramp
By Celia Rivenbark
Coastal Carolina Press, 2001
ISBN: 1-928556-22-1


Columnist Celia Rivenbark compiles her observations about southern and popular culture in Bless Your Heart, Tramp.  Her wit will have you holding your sides as she recounts southerners in rare snow storms, womanless wedding events, and beer can attire. 

Dividing the essays into three sections – “At Home, The South, and Everywhere Else,” Rivenbark covers a wide range of social topics that display our changing times with a touch of southern charm and down to earth logic.  

The home section deals with the trials and tribulations of becoming a mother at forty.  Readers will see themselves as Rivenbark will do anything for the right Happy Meal, worry over the high school reunion and give the modern day version of 1950’s Home Economics marriage tips. 

Though the southern viewpoint comes clearly across throughout the collection, in the section focusing on the South, Rivenbark looks at the cultural aspects that make this region stand out.  The art of softening the hard truth with a simple “bless your heart” tagged to the end.  Society page editors fear of bridal moms and the importance of not seeing the bridal gown before the wedding, especially in the newspaper announcement.  Southern cooking from lard to grits is covered, but can you follow the measurements? 

The third section covers everything left in popular culture and politics.  Who hasn’t been sick and become best of friends with Home Shopping hosts?  If they let John Hinckley out for the weekend, who would he visit?  Then there is the news story of a train accident victim who called her mother before 911.   

Celia Rivenbark’s columns have been syndicated by the New York Times News Service and the Knight-Ridder-Tribune News Service.  Her column “From the Belle Tower” appears Thursdays in the Myrtle Beach Sun News. 

Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews
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